Flower of Evil 악의 꽃 - Episode 9 (Recap)

kakashi: I don't even know where to start... so many things happen in this (long! It takes me hours to recap!) episode. From breaking-up to missing that person like crazy to old feelings being rekindled to the revalation that this is not about just one bad guy and his accomplice but that a whole fucking criminal operation is part of the picture.
JoAnne: Thankfully for us viewers, the writer is handling all of these details pretty skillfully. In lesser hands I think that particular addition would really have just sent the whole story off the rails.

Episode 9

In the past, Hyun-su feels the baby kick in Ji-won's belly when they move into their new home. He is so in awe (and cutely awkward) when he kneels down to talk to his daughter... he made Ji-won's favorite food and she says he's always the one doing things for her. Is there anything he wants from her? Yes, he says...
And all of us yell No me! Take me! I volunteer as tribute!

Back to the present and Ji-won pretending she's surprised to find her husband at Moo-jin's place and Hyun-su pretending to be surprised anybody could have thought this was a secret meeting. The real surprise though: finding Do Hae-su there too! They're lying about some things and saying the truth about others.
Remember Liars Game? I feel like that about this sometimes.

It's an awkward, tense situation but Ji-won soon gets into her detective mindset when she sees the gang's notes on the window. Why not join forces, she suggests? The one thing she's particularly interested in is the word "trap". When the gang points to the background noise on the voice recording of the accomplish, she offers to give this to a special agency who does sound analyses for the police. Hae-su soon excuses herself, but Ji-won won't let her off the hook so quickly. She pushes her a little by pointing to Hyun-su as possible accomplice and manipulative psychopath and Hae-su almost confesses that she murdered the foreman - Hyun-su prevents it by dropping his beverage on Moo-jin's laptop. 
Expensive save...
Back to Baek Hee-sung: He's awake. He's goddamn awake, can barely speak and is super confused, but he's awake! And he wants his mommy. He says it wasn't her fault. She cries a waterfall of tears. And then, Hee-sung asks after "that person" he hit. Man, he's in for a nasty surprise...
He's not the only one.

He is ready to forgive his mother everything (whatever she did) but the same does not apply to his father. Him, he blames for not picking up the phone that day. But Dr. Baek says it will all be good: he will soon be able to live the life he always wanted to lead. .... how?! Later, Hee-sung gets anxious because he thinks he has got to meet someone. And his father stares at a mobile phone that isn't his normal one.
This family... every episode, I feel differently about them. Is the mom bad? the dad? Why was Hee Sung in a coma? What is SO BAD about a coma that no one at Dr. Dad can't have anyone know or he'd lose his job?

On the way home from Moo-jin's place, Ji-won tells her husband that Hyun-su has most likely seen the accomplice twice when he was used to give Do Min-suk an alibi - that gets him thinking. Hyun-su also notices she isn't wearing the wedding ring anymore... but it's the day of the house-party, he prepared a lovely dinner on the roof top. Ji-won is at a point where putting on her smiling face is getting exceedingly hard. She thinks her husband doesn't love her, that everything is fake.
She must be so hurt and so scared. What a tough cookie she is, though! I really love that the husband and wife are equally adept at all of this subterfuge.

The guy from the sound analysis lab calls and sends her a new recording - he was able to change the sound so that another man's voice becomes audible. He is saying: "Would you like an ashtray?" And Hyun-su remembers... it was at the bar that night. The sound he's been puzzling over was the barkeeper chipping a ball of ice. In the flashback, we see that the accomplice was at the back of that bar (with the usual hat so we can't see his face). When he walked past them, he knocked Do Min-suk's jacket to the floor and when he handed it back to him, he gave him the car keys. Hyun-su is clearly affected by the memory but lies that it's nothing when Ji-won asks why he seems agitated.
The accomplice is clearly not the doctor. The shape is all wrong.
Maybe he just put on weight? 

Later when they're washing dishes, Ji-won reaches her limit. Hyun-su - the guy who cannot read people's feelings! - asks why she is forcing her laughs. She says she's not feeling the same way she used to about him - and him? He feels the same, he says. To her, it must sound like he is just confirming that he has never loved her, not even once. "I don't like you," she says. "Not anymore." She even hates him now. It's over. The poor guy... doesn't understand, on a fundamental level why they're breaking up. "Tell me what to do," he begs, "I'll fix it."
That honestly came out of the blue. I was as confused and surprised as he was.

Because she talks about her frustration with the serial killer case, about not knowing anything about the trap Min-suk used to catch his victims, Hyun-su redoubles his efforts to find the accomplice (how cute is it that he runs to Moo-jin to get relationship advice?!). He thinks that will be the gift she needs so they can go back to before. Because before, she was able to forget how horrible the world is when she was with him. 
They really need each other. Even with the suspicion now, the story has done a fantastic job of showing us how solidly aligned, supportive, and in sync these two are. And really, for a guy who is nearly unable to feel emotion in general and woman with nerves of steel and ice in her veins when it comes to work...they are the cutest thing I have ever seen.

While Hyun-su is following his voice recording lead, Hae-su asks Moo-jin to be taken home. He has made it clear several times that he is interested in picking up their relationship where they left off. She invites him into her rooftop home - it's dark, bare, and the light isn't working. She tells him she has severe insomnia, is afraid to leave the house, is broken. Going back to the old times isn't possible. He leaves without saying a word. We might think he'll never come back - but that's not true. He does come back, surprising her. He went and bought stuff to fix her light. And a new lamp.
I honestly believe Moo Jin can redeem his youthful mistakes, and I think he's probably exactly what the siblings need as a partner and a friend.
Hyun-su remembers the location of the bar he and his father were in that night. He goes in and there is the barkeeper we saw in the flashback! Apparently, his father was a "special client" (they got their ice chiseled). When Hyun-su plays him the voice recording, the barkeeper claims to have no clue who that is. Hyun-su is ready to leave when he recognizes the pen the guy uses: one of his father's special creations. One he helped pick back then - for "a special friend". As a thank you for always getting him risky "raw material". Okay, now I'm almost throwing up.
I mean come on, though, the IDEA of a serial killer pretty much automating his 'supply chain' - what a novel idea! Obviously it's been done in the past, in other ways, but for some reason this particular method really shocked me. The more I think about it, though, the more it makes Do Min Suk vulnerable. And why did he commit suicide anyway?

Ji-won decides to set a trap for the accomplice. She is certain the accomplice is someone Jung Mi-suk contacted while looking for a job and so they start calling the people from her phone record. Somewhere way down the list, a woman agrees to meet at a motel! Oh no.... these are the people we already met in a previous episode. The ones the little boy went to. And they seem to be connected to Do Min-suk?! They're worried they might get caught now that the case has been reopened. Oh indeed... when Hyun-su coerces the barkeeper to tell him who knows the accomplice, it is THEM he calls. 
Things are getting pretty dicey, I'd say. I am grateful at all times to absolutely know that Hyun Su is innocent of murder, and very likely mistaken about his ability to connect with people. Definitely mistaken when it comes to his family, because it is so obvious that he loves them.

The barkeeper leads Hyun-su to that dodgy job agency just when that woman from the job agency arrives at Ji-won's motel room. I am uneeeeeasy about this... TT_________TT After a few trick questions the agency owner named Yeom Sang-Cheol believes Hyun-su is Do Min-suk's son. Hyun-su says he wants "the accomplice" because of the trouble he is in because of that guy. Yeom Sang-Cheol calls himself "just a businessman". He is in the trade of buying and selling: "anything and everything". 
I always like to see this actor - he is so reliably threatening and sleazy. I bet in real life he's a complete teddy bear.

In the hotel room, Ji-won drops her pretense and admits she's a police woman, putting handcuffs on the sleazy woman (Hwang Jung-Soon). But when Ji-won turns her back for a minute to open the door to her detective colleagues, Hwang Jung-Soon climbs out of the window and tries to get away. They're on the third floor!!!! And... she falls. She is rushed to the hospital, she is in a critical condition. Our detectives get shit for their semi-illegal sting operation.
Man, my heart was in my throat watching her try to hang on IN HANDCUFFS!

At the agency, Hyun-su offers Yeom Sang-Cheol 5 Mio Won. The guy asks himself: will he make more money by handing over the accomplice to Hyun-su... or when he hands Hyun-su to that guy? Ah, but he shouldn't betray his "client". Hyun-su asks: did he sell raw material to both his dad and the person he is looking for? When Yeom Sang-Cheol says that's indeed the case, Hyun-su connects the dots. 
The fact that people like this exist in the world is completely unbelievable to me. I understand, intellectually, what is required to treat another human being like an animal to be bought and sold - LESS than an animal, even - but it still boggles my mind that people's brains can be wired or trained by life experience to feel that way.  
Little does that help him though... because Yeom Sang-Cheol made up his mind. He will stick with his "client" and hand Hyun-su over to him! At the same time, Ji-won steps out of the police station, in turmoil. All she can think of is her husband and how he helped her get over the difficult times. She looks at her phone and sees how many times he texted her, one message of concern for her well-being after another. And she remembers that evening they spent in their new apartment. "Is there anything you want from me?" she asked him. And he said: "Don't ever change. You just need to keep loving me like you do right now. All I need is your trust." In that case, he vows to live his whole life just for her. Ji-won realizes she misses him like hell. 
Trust him! No matter what Ji Won, trust him. He is worthy of it.

Yeom Sang-Cheol puts a powder into a glass - to roofy Hyun-su. Struggling, Hyun-su shouts he can be his client too! One who will constantly need his services. And yes, of course he knows what Yeom Sang-Cheol deals in: "people". Doesn't he know he is just like his father? Hyun-su's phone rings. It's Ji-won. They let him answer the phone and Ji-won tells him she just wanted to hear his voice. From the way he answers her, she realizes something is not quite right. She asks whether he is okay and can deal with the situation by himself - and when he answers in the affirmative, she tells him he has one hour to come back to her. "I miss you."
Couple of the Year, I swear.  


Do Min-suk really wanted to groom his son into a serial killer, didn't he? That scene where he talks about risky raw material, he says he will show it to him when he's ready. It's so disgusting, my god, the poor kids who grew up with such a father!!!! 
Another actor I'm always happy to see because he so reliably conveys the horrific personality/brain we need to believe exists. That clinical approach to the compulsion, coupled with a deep belief that they themselves should be treated differently and are better/stronger/smarter than others. As if they are higher on the evolutionary chain.

Human trafficking is about as vile as it gets and this is one deep shithole of vileness we're beginning to uncover. What happened to the poor overweight boy from that broken family who came here not too long ago?! (Please, readers: don't spoil anyone, we like to pretend we have only seen up to this point on this blog in case someone watches slowly!!!)
I am always pleased when characters who are mostly episodic prove to be part of a larger story, too. I hope he's okay.

So many balls still up in the air. I'm glad Ji-won isn't really leaving Hyun-su. I feel so, so sorry for him and she's the only person who has been kind to him from the very beginning. Without her, he will be thoroughly lost... I don't think I want to experience that.
I do not. No question in my mind.